W

October 20, 2018

Week 101

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

With midterms approaching, the country is electrified and on edge. This week Trump recycled themes from his 2016 campaign to help boost Republican messaging: stoking fear of “the others” (a caravan of immigrants), accusing Democrats of being the party of open borders and crime and claiming the left is encouraging violence (“the mob”). Journalists and watchdog groups in several states continued to report and document overt efforts by the Republican Party to suppress the votes of people of color.

In an alarming reveal of his authoritarian bent, Trump refused to condemn Saudi Arabia’s murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi despite a bipartisan Congressional outcry and diplomatic actions by world leaders. Trump also glorified Rep. Greg Gianforte at a campaign rally in Montana for shoving a journalist in 2017, sparking further condemnation for encouraging violence against the free press.

This week marked the first charges against a Russian, Elena Khusyaynova, for conspiring to interfere with the 2018 U.S. election. Trump continues to deny 2016 campaign ties to Russia or acknowledge Russian interference in our 2016 election. Reporting this week indicates the Mueller probe is speeding along and could be completed shortly after midterms.

  1. On Saturday, speaking to reporters, Trump defended separating migrant families at the border, saying the fear of being separated from children deters some immigrants, although this did not work in June.
  2. Trump told reporters of immigrants, “If they feel there will be separation, they don’t come. You’ve got some really bad people out there.” Trump claimed the influx is “because of how well our country is doing.”
  3. On Saturday, at a rally in Kentucky, Trump blamed Democrats for opening our borders and creating “a friendly sanctuary for murderous thugs from other countries who will kill us all.”
  4. Trump said of the investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, “what the crazy radical Democrats did to Justice Kavanaugh was a national disgrace,” adding “never has a man been treated so badly,”
  5. On Saturday, a video surfaced of the white nationalist, male-only “Proud Boys” brutally beating up several men after attending a lecture by their founder at the Metropolitan Republican Club of New York City.
  6. Three were arrested after the clash with protestors. A Proud Boy member can be heard saying “Are you brave now faggot?!’” Proud Boys has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
  7. On Monday, the New York Police Department moved to quell criticism of their handling of the brawl, saying they were seeking nine additional members of Proud Boys and three anti-fascist protestors.
  8. Hate fliers were left on some residents’ lawns in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, that featured images of Hitler or the Ku Klux Klan, offensive language and a phone number. Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
  9. A white woman in St. Louis, Missouri, was captured on a video trying to block a black man from entering his own downtown loft. She was later fired from her job working with an associated real estate company.
  10. This year’s White House Fellow class of 14 includes 13 with a military or law enforcement backgrounds in their biographies. Of the 14, only two are women, whereas under Obama women made up about half.
  11. According to a new poll conducted by YouGov and The Economistnearly half of people who voted for Trump in 2016 believe men are discriminated against more than are LGBTQ people, women and most ethnic minorities.
  12. Intercept reported the Department of Health and Human Services is considering a request from a South Carolina Christian foster-care agency to deny Jewish, Muslim, atheist and agnostic parents the right to take in kids.
  13. On Thursday, House Oversight Democrats alleged in a letter that Trump intervened in the FBI headquarters project to help protect business for his hotel, Trump Hotel DC, which is a block away on Pennsylvania Avenue.
  14. According to newly released government emails, Trump met with General Services Administrator Emily Murphy, the FBI and White House officials on January 24, 2018, where he was directly involved in decision making.
  15. The letter from Democrats says the FBI’s decision to abandon the relocation plan, and instead construct a new building on the same site at higher cost, was to prevent Trump Hotel DC competitors from acquiring the land.
  16. Fast Company reported thatTrump signaled his support for Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s candidacy for Speaker of the House after McCarthy’s PAC spent $154,000 to host a reception and dinner at Trump Hotel DC.
  17. Residents of a Manhattan condominium called “Trump Place” voted to remove Trump’s name from the building. Close to 70% of residents voted for the removal, which happened on Thursday.
  18. On Thursday, a report published by the Interior Department Inspector General found that Secretary Ryan Zinke violated agency travel policy by having his wife ride in government-issued vehicles with him.
  19. On Thursday, Suzanne Israel Tufts reigned from her post at the Department of Housing and Urban Development after a mistaken announcement sent to HUD employees by Secretary Ben Carson.
  20. Secretary Carson informed staffers she would be leaving to take the job as acting inspector general at the Interior Department. The current acting IG, Mary Kendall, had not been informed that she was being replaced.
  21. The Trump regime denied reports they were replacing the department’s independent watchdog, who is overseeing multiple investigations into Zinke, with a political appointee.
  22. On Sunday, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll showed voter enthusiasm is up from 2014 especially for Democrats (63% in 2014 to 81% in 2018), 18–39 year-olds (42% to 67%) and nonwhites (48% to 72%).
  23. Voters favor Democratic candidates for the House over Republican candidates, 53% to 42%. Independent women voters favor Democrats over Republicans by a more than 2–1 margin (62% to 29%).
  24. On Sunday, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told “This Week” that the United Nations reports “overestimates” climate change, saying not to “panic” but to look at it in a “level-headed and analytic way.”
  25. Also on Sunday, Trump appeared on “60 Minutes.” He told Lesley Stahl that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “probably” involved in assassinations and poisonings, but “it’s not in our country,” adding “I think I’m very tough with him.”
  26. When asked about Russian interference in the 2016 election, Trump said“They meddled. But I think China meddled, too,” adding, “I think, frankly, China is a bigger problem.”
  27. When asked about his praise of Kim Jong Un despite his history of human rights violations, Trump said “Look, let it be whatever it is. I get along with him really well. I have a good energy with him. I have a good chemistry with him.”
  28. When pressed about whether he would resume his zero-tolerance policy at the U.S. Southern border, Trump falsely claimed Obama did the same thing and, when pressed, said “Lesley, it’s OK. In the meantime, I’m President, and you’re not.”
  29. Trump also said, “I don’t trust everybody in the White House.” Trump said of political people, “This is the most deceptive, vicious world. It is vicious, it’s full of lies, deceit and deception.”
  30. When asked about Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Trump said “I think he’s sort of a Democrat,” adding “We get along very well. He may leave. I mean, at some point, everybody leaves.”
  31. On climate change, Trump said “I think something’s happening. Something’s changing, and it’ll change back again. I don’t think it’s a hoax, I think there’s probably a difference. But I don’t know that it’s man-made.”
  32. When asked if he treated Dr. Christine Blasey Ford with respect, Trump said “I think so, yeah. I did,” adding, “You know what? I’m not going to get into it, because we won. It doesn’t matter. We won.
  33. Deadline Hollywood reported that Trump’s ratings for his “60 Minutes” interview took a nosedive, with 43% fewer viewers watching compared to his previous appearance in November 2016.
  34. On Sunday, while being asked about current Georgia Secretary of State and Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp and voter suppression, Georgia Sen. David Perdue grabbed a phone away from a student member of the Young Democratic Socialists of America who was videoing the exchange.
  35. On Monday, in Georgia, senior citizens on a bus from their senior center to cast their votes were ordered off the bus over “concerns” about the “political activity,” which “isn’t allowed during county-sponsored events.”
  36. On Tuesday, WAPO reported hundreds of absentee ballots in suburban Atlanta have been rejected. Advocates say the move disproportionately impacts Black, Latino and Asian American voters.
  37. On Friday, an APM Reports analysis found Georgia has purged an estimated 107,000 people from the voter rolls, largely because they did not vote in a prior election, known as the “use it or lose it” policy.
  38. On Friday, a separate analysis done by Palast Investigative Fund found GOP candidate Kemp has improperly purged 340,134 Georgia voters from the rolls on the grounds they had moved, but they had not.
  39. On Monday, Tennessee Black Voter Project filed an open suit in Shelby County to inspect thousands of voter registration forms officials say are deficient. The group called it an “alarmingly high invalidation rate.”
  40. On Thursday, Wichita Eagle reported Dodge City, where Hispanics make up 60% of the population, moved its only polling place for midterms to outside the city limits to a facility more than a mile from the nearest bus stop.
  41. On Thursday, leaders of the four largest tribes in North Dakota called a new court order “suppressive” and accused the state of attempting to disenfranchise Native American voters, saying they will fight to protect their right to vote.
  42. On Thursday, the Kansas City Star reported a conservative activist with Project Veritas who posed as an intern for Sen. Claire McCaskill had access to voter information and published a video from inside the campaign.
  43. McCaskill’s office called on Attorney General Josh Hawley, her 2018 senatorial opponent, to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate if the group violated state laws by recording and publishing the video.
  44. On Friday, the Kansas City Star reported the executive director of the Missouri Republican Party acknowledged the party sent mailers to 10,000 voters with false information about when their absentee ballots are due.
  45. On Monday, NBC News reported a Department of Homeland Security assessment issued last week found a “growing volume of cyber activity targeting election infrastructure in 2018.” All attempts have been blocked.
  46. The assessment found “numerous actors are regularly targeting election infrastructure, likely for different purposes, including to cause disruptive effects, steal sensitive data and undermine confidence in the election.”
  47. The department’s Cyber Mission Center does not know who is behind the attacks. Countering Trump, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told the Senate she has not seen “any Chinese attempts to compromise election infrastructure.”
  48. On Monday, a federal judge in Los Angeles dismissed a lawsuit from adult-film actress Stormy Daniels that claimed Trump defamed her. The judge also ruled that Trump is entitled to legal fees.
  49. On Tuesday, Trump had to nothing on his daily schedule. He sent a total of 22 tweets during the day, including a tirade of 12 tweets in the morning.
  50. Trump attacked Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who revealed a DNA test showed she had Native American ancestry, calling her “Pocahontas (the bad version),” and “a complete and total Fraud,” adding the Cherokee Nation “don’t want her. Phony!”
  51. Trump also tweeted, “I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia (or Russia, for that matter),” adding, “Any suggestion that I have is just more FAKE NEWS (of which there is plenty)!”
  52. Trump also complained about the conflict in “Glen Simpson’s testimony to another House Panel” about contact with Bruce Ohr “to get (FAKE) Dossier to FBI,” asking “Where is Jeff Sessions?
  53. Trump also attacked Stormy Daniels over the lawsuit, referring to her as “horseface” and saying “she knows nothing about me, a total con!
  54. Trump’s name-calling of women is part of a pattern of demeaning women since his campaign, including incendiary comments on women’s faces, bodily functions and weight. He has also compared women to animals.
  55. Trump closed out the day tweeting again about Sen. Warren, saying “Her false claim of Indian heritage is only selling to VERY LOW I.Q. individuals!
  56. On Tuesday, Chief Justice John Roberts said in a speech that despite “the contentious events” related to Kavanaugh in recent weeks, “the Supreme Court does not serve one party or one interest, but we serve one nation.”
  57. On Thursday, WSJ reported Justice Neil Gorsuch’s speech to a conference of Catholic legal scholars will be closed to the media. Speeches by his Supreme Court colleagues in recent weeks were made public.
  58. On Tuesday, Trump gave a wide-ranging interview to AP. Trump said he will not accept blame if his party loses control of the House in midterms, saying “No, I think I’m helping people” and “I’m 48 and 1 in the primaries.”
  59. When asked how he will handle investigations and impeachment by Democrats, Trump said “I think I’ll handle it very well…we have a witch hunt now going on, and I handle it very well, and there was no collusion.”
  60. Trump said Michael Cohen’s claims that Trump directed him to commit a crime are “false,” adding Cohen is “a PR person who did small legal work, very small legal work. And what he did was very sad, when you look.”
  61. When asked about calling a woman horseface, Trump said, “You can take it any way you want,” adding “I had nothing to do with her. So she can lie and she can do whatever she wants to do. She can hire a phony lawyer.”
  62. When asked about climate change, Trump said, “I am truly an environmentalist,” adding “I have a natural instinct for science, and I will say that you have scientists on both sides of the picture.”
  63. When asked about separating migrant families, Trump said, “I covered it so nicely on ’60 Minutes,’ but they only put on pieces of it…although I heard that they did very nicely on the show. Did they do well?”
  64. On Tuesday, literary group PEN American sued Trump in federal court, alleging that “official acts” by Trump have “violated the First Amendment and his oath to uphold the Constitution.”
  65. PEN America cites Trump’s meddling in the proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner (parent of CNN), as well as his comments on WAPO owner and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos.
  66. Nearly 1,500 St. Lawrence University alumni and faculty called on the school to rescind an honorary degree awarded to Sen. Susan Collins citing “support of truth and for all of the victims of sexual assault and violence.”
  67. On Monday, Trump tweeted in response to the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, “Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened ‘to our Saudi Arabian citizen,’”adding “they are working closely with Turkey to find answer.”
  68. Moments later, Trump told reporters of his conversation with King Salman, “The king firmly denied any knowledge of it,” adding “it sounded to me like maybe these could’ve been rogue killers.”
  69. Later Monday, seemingly following Trump’s lead, Saudi Arabia changed its story, saying Khashoggi was mistakenly killed during an interrogation ordered by a Saudi intelligence official who is a friend of the crown prince.
  70. Senators, both Republican and Democrat, urged swift action if Saudi Arabia is found responsible for killing Khashoggi. Senators said they will act if Trump did not take action.
  71. When asked about Khashoggi in his AP interview, Trump said “I think we have to find out what happened first,” adding “you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that,” comparing it to the Kavanaugh confirmation.
  72. On Wednesday, according to details in an audio recording in the Turkish news, all within a few minutes, Saudis severed Khashoggi’s fingers during an interrogation and later beheaded and dismembered him.
  73. On Wednesday, NYT reported that Saudi Arabia made a $100 million deposit to the U.S. on Tuesday, the same day Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Riyadh, to stabilize liberated areas in Syria.
  74. Trump also defended the alleged Saudi arms deal, which he said on Wednesday would create “450,000 jobs.” Over the past weekend, Trump had claimed the deal would create 50,000 jobs.
  75. On Thursday, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker warned the Trump regime that its intelligence information “clampdown” on the alleged Khashoggi killer “can’t go on.”
  76. On Thursday, WAPO reported hardline Republicans and conservative commentators are planning a whisper campaign to smear Khashoggi and protect Trump from criticism of his handling of the alleged murder.
  77. The group has been exchanging articles from right-wing outlets that have already been published. One means used to discredit Khashoggi is his association with the Muslim Brotherhood in his youth.
  78. On Thursday, Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner asserted, “Khashoggi was tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.” Faulkner’s comments were echoed on the campaign trail by Virginia Republican Corey Stewart.
  79. Another area is questioning his work decades ago as an embedded reporter covering Osama bin Laden. Donald Trump Jr. amplified a tweet that Khashoggi was “tooling around Afghanistan with Osama bin Laden.”
  80. On Thursday, NBC News reported Twitter suspended a network of hundreds of Twitter bots that pushed pro-Saudi talking points in tweets and retweets at the same time about the disappearance of Khashoggi.
  81. On Friday, the Saudi government announced in a tweet by the Saudi Foreign Ministry that Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, claiming he died during a fistfight.
  82. The Saudi government said it has fired five top officials and arrested 18 other Saudis. This is the first acknowledgment by the Saudis that Khashoggi, who went missing on October 2, was killed inside the consulate.
  83. On Friday, Trump broke from U.S. intelligence agencies, saying the Saudi’s explanation of Khashoggi’s death is credible, and calling the statement a “good first step” and a “big step.”
  84. Trump also said there was no need to cancel defense contracts, saying “we don’t use as retribution, canceling $110 billion worth of work, which means 600,000 jobs. I know it sounds easy and it sounds good.”
  85. World leaders denounced the Saudi account of Khashoggi’s killing. France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands suspended political visits to Saudi Arabia until more information is known about his death.
  86. On Monday, Sears announced it was closing 142 stores and filing for bankruptcyTrump told reporters, “Sears has been dying for many years. It’s been obviously improperly run for many years. It is a shame.”
  87. The federal deficit ballooned to $779 billion in the fiscal year ended September 30, a 17% increase due to the Republican tax cut. Corporate tax collections fell by 31%.
  88. The deficit is expected to top $1 trillion in the coming year. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed federal spending and called for cuts to programs like Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.
  89. As of Thursday, more than 1,100 people in Florida were still missing and the death toll had reached 34 from Hurricane Michael. Trump made a brief visit to storm-ravaged areas but otherwise largely ignored the hurricane’s impact and failed to acknowledge climate change’s role in increasingly severe weather.
  90. WAPO reported on anti-Trump fervor that has sparked a new movement of mostly college-educated women mobilized to turn the 2018 election. One organizer said, “we are fighting for the mortal soul of our country.”
  91. One survey of resistance groups showed 90% were women, 90% were white and 83% had either bachelors or graduate degrees. The median age was 55.
  92. Democratic campaign contributions measured by ActBlue show 4.5 million contributors so far in the 2018 cycle, with about 61% coming from women, compared with 1.5 million in 2014 with 52 % from women.
  93. Republican Women for Progress PAC, run by Republican women in Michigan, announced they will be backing Democrats in two key House races, citing Trump’s rhetoric and the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing.
  94. In what campaign-finance experts say may be a first, outdoor clothing company Patagonia endorsed two Democratic candidates for Senate, Jon Tester in Montana and Jacky Rosen in Nevada, two close races.
  95. A spokesperson for the company said, “Public lands are center stage there, in Montana and Nevada,” adding “we felt by motivating our community to vote, we could help protect the public lands and waters in those places.”
  96. On Tuesday, Vanity Fair reported that despite having no formal cooperation agreement with the government, Michael Cohen has spent more than 50 hours providing information about ongoing investigations.
  97. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue his findings shortly after midterms. DOJ guidelines say to avoid disclosure close to an election that could be seen as influencing the outcome.
  98. Reportedly Mueller is close to rendering judgment on whether there was collusion between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign and whether Trump took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice.
  99. The timeline raises concerns about the probe itself: Trump has said multiple times he will fire attorney general Jeff Sessions after midterms, and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein may resign or be fired too.
  100. On Wednesday, in a rare interview with the WSJRosenstein forcefully defended the special counsel investigation into Russian interference, calling it “appropriate and independent.”
  101. Rosenstein also said “the public will have confidence that the cases we brought were warranted by the evidence, and that it was an appropriate use of resources,” and that the investigation was “appropriately managed.”
  102. On Thursday, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows called on Rosenstein to resign “immediately,” citing Rosenstein’s “unwillingness to come before Congress” and that he has not been “open and honest.”
  103. On Wednesday, White House counsel Don McGahn resigned, effective immediately. No explanation was given for the timing just weeks before midterms.
  104. Emmet Flood will temporarily take over McGahn’s role as White House counsel while Trump’s new appointee, Washington lawyer Pat Cipollone, waits for his background check to clear.
  105. On Thursday, the Guardian reported Aras Agalarov, who helped orchestrate the June 9 Trump Tower meeting, set up a new U.S. shell company in May 2016.
  106. The Russian accountant who helped set up the account has clients accused of money laundering and embezzlement. According to interviews and filings, Agalarov was preparing to move $20 million during the election.
  107. On Wednesday, CNN reported that Paul Manafort and his lawyers have visited Mueller’s office at least nine times in the last four weeks, an indication that the special counsel is moving at a fast clip.
  108. Mueller’s team is continuing to interview witnesses. Special counsel prosecutors have gathered a grand jury to meet in Washington on most Fridays and have visited the federal courthouse in Washington almost daily.
  109. On Friday, NBC News reported Manafort was rolled into a Virginia federal court in a wheelchair, wearing a green prison uniform, his hair visibly grayer. He was also missing one shoe.
  110. According to Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing, there are significant issues with Manafort’s health. Downing asked for the court to expedite Manafort’s sentencing so he could be moved to a different facility.
  111. Judge T.S. Ellis decided Manafort will be sentenced on February 8 for financial crimes after a jury found him guilty in August.
  112. With another trial on separate charges still looming in Washington, the judge granted a request from Mueller’s team for more time to decide whether to retry Manafort or dismiss the remaining charges in Virginia.
  113. On Friday, the Justice Department announced it had charged Russian Elena Khusyaynova with conspiring to interfere with the 2018 U.S. election, the first charges for interfering in the upcoming midterms.
  114. Khusyaynova managed the finances of “Project Lakhta,” an operation designed “to sow discord in the U.S. political system” by pushing incendiary positions on political controversies on social media platforms.
  115. Prosecutors said the project attempted to sow conflict along racial lines and at times advocated positions that directly opposed each other, with the objective of turning Americans against one another.
  116. Lakhta is the name of a neighborhood in St. Petersburg near the location of the troll farm Internet Research Agency. Project Lakhta’s operating budget from 2016–2018 exceeded $35 million, although not all its activities targeted the U.S.
  117. Funding was provided by Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Prigozhin, an associate of Putin who is known as “Putin’s chef,” and two companies he controls: Concord Management and Consulting, and Concord Catering.
  118. The complaint was filed under seal in late September and kept secret for three weeks. It was unveiled due to National Security Advisor John Bolton’s pending trip to Russia and to raise public awareness about Russian political influence campaigns.
  119. On Friday, the office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a statement, “We are concerned about ongoing campaigns by Russia, China and other foreign actors, including Iran.”
  120. The office said the goal is to undermine “confidence in democratic institutions and influence public sentiment,” and to “influence voter perceptions and decision making in the 2018 and 2020 U.S. elections.”
  121. When asked by reporters about charges against the Russian national, Trump said it “had nothing to do with my campaign,” adding they “probably like Hillary Clinton better than me.”
  122. He also said that there was “no collusion whatsoever,” and shifted the blame to Obama, who he said “didn’t lift a finger” to stop Russia from interfering in the 2016 election.
  123. On Friday, WSJ reported Jerome Corsi, Roger Stone and associates of the late Peter W. Smith are all being investigated by Mueller’s team for their alleged contacts with WikiLeaks.
  124. Mueller’s team has Stone’s telephone records and evidence Smith had advance knowledge of the details surrounding WikiLeaks’ release of emails from a top Hillary Clinton campaign official.
  125. A caravan of 4,000 Honduran migrants headed north by walking, taking buses and hitching rides in cars and trucks to flee gangs and seek work and more stability for their families in Mexico or the U.S.
  126. On Monday, roughly 2,000 migrants had pushed past police into Guatemala. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted threats to cut U.S. aid to Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico if the caravan did not stop.
  127. On Tuesday, Trump also tweeted, “Anybody entering the United States illegally will be arrested and detained, prior to being sent back to their country!”
  128. On Thursday, Trump threatened to send the military to the border, tweeting he is asking “Mexico to stop this onslaught and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!”
  129. Trump also claimed, without evidence, that Democrats are backing the caravan to bolster what he said was the party’s preference for “open borders and existing weak laws.”
  130. Bloomberg reported chief of staff John Kelly and John Bolton engaged in a profanity-laced shouting match outside the Oval Office on Thursday afternoon.
  131. The topic was immigration and the surge in border crossings, with Bolton criticizing the performance of the Homeland Security Department under Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Kelly defending her.
  132. CNN reported Trump was present for the beginning of the shouting match, but he later denied knowledge of it. The sharp disagreement sparked fears of further resignations from the regime.
  133. Reportedly the caravan issue has been the subject of several White House meetings in recent days — not only how to stop it, but also how to use the issue for midterms.
  134. On Friday, when asked by a NYT reporter what evidence he had that migrants trying to enter our country at the border are “hardened criminals,” Trump responded, “Oh please, please, don’t be a baby.”
  135. On Thursday and Friday, Trump tweeted using the hashtag #JobsNotMobs. Trump also repeatedly used the words at his rallies.
  136. On Thursday, protestors spelled the word “LIAR” in red, white and blue on the side of Mount Jumbo in Missoula, Montana, which was reportedly visible from where Trump held a rally that evening.
  137. Trump delivered a rambling 45-minutes long speech in Montana, veering from topic to topic. The rally was not carried live by cable TV networks. Before Trump spoke, the crowd warmed up by chanting “Lock her up.”
  138. Trump again celebrated his 2016 victory and, in discussing his accomplishments since, said the allegations against Kavanaugh were a Democratic “con job.”
  139. Trump called Democrats the party of “open borders” and of “crime,” and also said “radical, far-left Democrats” have “truly turned into an angry mob bent on destroying anything and anyone in their path.
  140. Repeating his mantra using the words mobs and jobs, Trump also said, “Democrats produce mobs, Republicans produce jobs.”
  141. Trump also acknowledged that Ronny Jackson “might not have been qualified” to head up Veterans Affairs, after claiming “Jon Tester led the Democrat mob in the effort to destroy the reputation of a great man.”
  142. Trump praised Rep. Greg Gianforte, who pleaded guilty to assaulting a Guardian reporter in June 2017, saying “Any guy who can do a body slam, he’s my candidate, he’s my guy.”
  143. After the rally, the Guardian US editor issued a statement condemning Trump’s attack, saying “We hope decent people will denounce these remarks and that the president will see fit to apologize for them.”
  144. On Friday, the British government joined press freedom advocates and journalists in speaking out about Trump’s remarks, saying “Any violence or intimidation against a journalist is completely unacceptable.”
  145. The editor-in-chief of the Guardian wrote, “The world’s press would welcome a clear statement from the U.S. government that it remains committed to the rights of journalists everywhere to do their work without fear of violence or repression.”
  146. On Friday, Trump doubled-down on his praise for Gianforte at a signing ceremony, saying “Greg is a tremendous guy, tough cookie.”
  147. On Thursday, outgoing U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley broke with Trump at an event in New York, saying “in America, our political opponents are not evil.” Trump has frequently labeled Democrats “evil.”
  148. On Friday, Trump attacked Democrats as an “angry mob” on Twitter, using edited clips of Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder in which they are cut off in mid-sentence.
  149. NYT reported on discontent within the DOJ under Jeff Sessions as the department has shifted from the civil rights-centered agenda of Obama to hardline conservative views on immigration, civil rights and social issues.
  150. In his effort to transform the department, Sessions has ignored dissent, leading to infighting, several high-level departures and morale described as the lowest in memory. Many high-level positions remain unfilled.
  151. Trump has also stoked unease at the department. He assailed the prosecutor who won a conviction in the Manafort case and attacked the plea agreement struck with Michael Cohen.
  152. New Yorker reported on Sinclair Broadcasting’s growing influence as the largest owner of television stations, especially at the local level where newspapers have closed.
  153. According to Pew Research, 50% of Americans get their news from television, and 66% trust their local news station. Sinclair owns more stations in swing states than any other company.
  154. Sinclair has exploited loopholes in regulations meant to protect competition by buying small and mid-sized television stations and setting up shell companies that on paper appear to be separate entities.
  155. Reporters working for local stations purchased by Sinclair told the New Yorker they were forced to cover only certain stories, often citing inaccurate information or faulty premises. Many chose to quit.
  156. On Friday, Trump randomly tweeted, “When referring to the USA, I will always capitalize the word Country!” There is no evidence that Trump capitalizes the word country.
  157. On Friday, Trump held another campaign rally in Arizona. Trump continued his attacks on Democrats, whom he called an “unhinged mob,” and said, “vote for the jobs, not for the mobs.”
  158. Trump also spoke repeatedly about immigrants, resurrecting the phrase “bad hombres” to describe those entering the U.S. illegally. Trump said hospitals and schools are being “overrun” with immigrants.
  159. As of Saturday, more than 4.3 million Americans had already cast their ballots in midterm elections, a huge increase from the last midterm. In Georgia more than 300,000 residents have voted early, about 30% of whom are black.

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Voters wait in line for up to two hours to vote early at the Cobb County West Park Government Center on October 18, 2018, in Marietta, Georgia. Early voting started in Georgia on October 15th. Georgia’s gubernatorial election is a close race between Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams and Republican candidate Brian Kemp.